THE third October Borders Challenge, in aid of Arthritis Research UK, was a resounding success, thanks again to the support and generosity of people throughout the Scottish Borders.

Year on year, the Challenge, organised by the Melrose branch of Arthritis Research UK, brings in even more funds for the charity.

The 2013 event raised almost £5000. This year, a cheque for £8,033.63 was handed over at a celebration event in Melrose Rugby Club last Friday.

Melrose branch treasurers Pat Matthew and Ellen Haldane presented the cheque to Dr Mohini Gray, a senior clinical lecturer at the MRC Centre for Inflammation Research at the University of Edinburgh and an honorary consultant rheumatologist at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh.

Dr Gray was the guest speaker and gave an update on research being undertaken in Edinburgh into rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).

Throughout October, individuals and groups across the Scottish Borders did “something small to make a big difference” to participate in the Challenge.

They went on sponsored walks, held coffee mornings, played golf and bowls and organised collections, amongst other activities.

And at last week’s event, they were presented with certificates for their efforts by Dr Ruth Richmond, Consultant Rheumatologist at Borders General Hospital.

They included: nine year old Kayley Heard, who walked 11 miles from her home in Ancrum to Jedburgh and back; Melrose branch member Cathie Hart, who took part in a zip wire challenge in Newcastle; Newstead/Melrose/Gattonside WalkIt Group who went on a sponsored walk.

There was a coffee morning in Burnmouth, while volunteers from the Melrose and Selkirk branches of Arthritis Research UK took over the pop up shop in Selkirk over two days to raise awareness and funds.

This year’s Challenge culminated in a concert featuring award winning Bro Aled Welsh Male Voice Choir and the Riddell Fiddles, in Selkirk, on October 31, which was attended by more than 450 people and brought in £4000.

Dr Richmond said: “On behalf of Arthritis Research UK, I would like to thank the Melrose branch for all it is doing here in the Scottish Borders. The charity is extremely grateful to all its supporters in Scotland. There is some world class research work going on in this country. The charity currently supports eight chairs in rheumatology across the UK, three of which are based in Scotland (two in Glasgow and one in Edinburgh).

“Of the total income throughout the UK, more than 10 per cent is spent in Scotland, with some of these funds going to drug trials being carried out at Borders General Hospital. However, less than a quarter of that 10 per cent is raised north of the border. So all the funds brought in by your efforts in the Borders will help to rectify that situation.” For more information about the Melrose branch or the October Challenge, please call 0845 602 3921 or e-mail